PLATINUM WAGE NEGOTIATIONS, SAFETY AND RETRENCHMENTS

PLATINUM WAGE NEGOTIATIONS, SAFETY AND RETRENCHMENTS

PLATINUM WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

As AMCU, this is now the third time that we are negotiating wage increases for workers on the Platinum Belt. Over the past negotiations, we have been able to gradually improve the lives of workers by moving away from the inflation-related increases which they were subjected to.
This process was not always easy, and we had to sacrifice a lot during the Five-month Platinum Strike of 2013/2014. Still, we have been able to strengthen our mandate and consolidate our struggle for economic emancipation.

Our battle cry of the early years was for a living wage R12 500 per month to be paid to the lowest-earning worker. This year, at our Platinum Collective Bargaining Conference held on 4 June 2019, we agreed to adjust this figure for inflation to a new baseline of R17 000 per month.

We believe that R17 000 per month is a realistic and attainable target for a living wage for workers in our country. At the first rounds of Mass Meetings with our members, we were given the mandate to look at an increase of R1 500 per month, for every year of a three-year wage agreement. We also agreed to include broader issues related to conditions of service and health and safety.
As the majority trade union in Platinum, we are making good progress…

Status quo

This year’s negotiations with the different employers started on 9 July 2019, and after 3 months of negotiating, we have not reached an agreement with one of the employers yet.
The employers involved in these negotiations are Impala Platinum Holdings or Implats (including the Impala and Marula operations), Anglo American Platinum or Amplats (which comprises Tumela, Dishaba, Central Services, Mortimer Smelter, RBMR and Mototolo operations), as well as Sibanye-Stillwater SA Platinum (including the RPM and Lonmin operations).

While we are making good progress with Anglo and Impala, who have both crossed the R1 000 mark, Sibanye-Stillwater remains a stumbling block.

The first problem came when Sibanye-Stillwater insisted to have parallel engagements for its operations at Rustenburg Platinum Mine (or RPM, as we refer to it), and the operations formerly belonging to Lonmin.

The reason for this approach is quite simple: They are trying to isolate their different operations and avoid the principle of harmonisation and cross-subsidisation. This enabled them to insult former Lonmin workers by offering a measly R300 increase at the start.
We have now exhausted the internal dispute resolution mechanisms at all the companies, save for Impala, where we will still have a Mass Meeting this week to engage with members. We have referred mutual interest disputes to the CCMA, and we are positive that the CCMA will facilitate progress and resolution so that we may conclude these negotiations and get back to work.

SAFETY IN PLATINUM

As AMCU we have been generally pleased with the improvements in health and safety in Platinum over the past months. However, it seems that once again Sibanye-Stillwater is the stumbling block.
While Lonmin in the past months boasted a new record of numerous fatality-free shifts, Sibanye-Stillwater has already killed four (4) mineworkers since it swallowed Lonmin on 10 June 2019.
To add insult to injury, AMCU Safety Stewards were intimidated and disciplined for raising serious concerns regarding questionable telephonic concessions made by the DMR (Department of Mineral Resources) with Sibanye-Stillwater management.
AMCU leadership requested an urgent meeting with Sibanye-Stillwater management to discuss our concerns.

SIBANYE-LONMIN RETRENCHMENTS

Last week on 25 September 2019, we received a notice that Sibanye-Stillwater is commencing with consultations to retrench a possible 5 270 employees at its newly acquired Lonmin operations.
Members of the media will remember that AMCU opposed the so-called merger process from the start, and that the main focus of our opposition was exactly this – the mass retrenchment of workers.
Over the past days Sibanye-Stillwater spoke to the media, complaining of losses made, but these claims are less than factual. In fact, according to Lonmin’s 2018 Annual Report, Lonmin made a net profit of R68 billion year-on-year from 2017 to 2018.

During the first six (6) months of 2019, the Lonmin operations generated an unaudited $70 million. This proves that Lonmin was indeed profitable when Sibanye-Stillwater acquired it.
Even more compelling is that Lonmin’s headcount was already reduced with almost a quarter (21%) since 2014, which resulted in massive savings on expenses. The fact is that these job cuts has nothing to do with losses…

It is a known fact that Sibanye-Stillwater’s main reason for acquiring Lonmin was to get a processing plant. Lonmin has a fully integrated PGM processing complex, including smelting, base and precious metal refining facilities. This gives it a so-called “mine-to-market capability”. This will enable Sibanye-Stillwater to mine ore at its RPM and Kroondal operations, and then process at Lonmin before going to market.

AMCU has a fresh mandate to campaign for the amendment of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. It currently makes it too easy for employers to butcher the livelihoods of workers only for the sake of hyper profits. We demand that the LRA includes other socio-economic requirements as well, especially for these multinational mines and corporates.

We can simply not let the livelihoods of workers be sacrificed to sustain the luxurious lifestyles of mining bosses anymore. It has to stop!
The golden handshake paid by Sibanye-Stillwater to the former CEO is estimated at £1.45million (or R27,57 million), and the former CFO received an estimated £737 268 (or R14,52 million).
The total cash paid to Sibanye-Stillwater’s 2 Executive Directors last year amounted to more than R59 million.

They use clever tricks to loot the money and show less profits. From illicit financial flows to tax evasion, their new trick is to ensure that they pay out dividends directly before wage negotiations start. Then they can lie to us and tell us they don’t have money left to pay to the workers. This is theft! They are stealing from the workers!

Closure

As AMCU, we remain positive that the mining bosses will pay their workers a living wage and decent benefits. We will spare no resource in fighting unnecessary job cuts and finding alternative solutions to workers and their families losing their livelihoods.
AMCU is a genuine trade union and we will continue to strengthen our campaign for the economic emancipation of our members.

I thank you.
Joseph Mathunjwa
AMCU President

Seventh Commemoration Of The Marikana Massacre

Seventh Commemoration Of The Marikana Massacre

Seventh Commemoration Of The Marikana Massacre

Introduction

Luke 10:25ff – New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Like we read in this scripture, the workers were robbed and left for dead. The Levite came and saw them, but left them.
Their yellow union, the company, the police, everybody left them for dead.
They thought there would be no tomorrow.
Nobody could care less about them.
We cared and we still care today.
This is the gist of the commemoration today.

What happened on that day? The actual sequence of events has been distorted.

Comrades, it must be said that all the days of the struggle were important in our Revolution. However, there is no day that is more important than 16 August 2012 in our modern-day history of South Africa.
We must remind ourselves that, on this day at this very place, 34 mineworkers were robbed of their lives. Their mothers and fathers were robbed of sons, their wives were robbed of husbands and their children were robbed of fathers.
This was the day that exposed the ANC and its government that we have not yet attained our freedom.
• If we are truly liberated, why do we still see the structural wage inequality that is the order of the day, 25 years after the dawn of democracy?
• If we are indeed free, why are we still price-takers when we want to export our minerals?
• Why must London and New York decide how much they will pay us for our gold and our platinum?
16 August 2012 provided a window on the harsh reality of the power of Capital when endorsed by the State. It showed everybody how politicians used their influence to manipulate State apparatus for the sake of protecting the financial interests of Capital.
This show of power was necessary, and the bloodshed was intentionally aimed at proving to Capital that the State will protect its assets at all costs.
It was a confirmation of how the State was captured, and the blood of our comrades was proof of what the State will do to show its obedience to their masters.
We must ask ourselves deep questions about the real causes of the Lonmin Massacre of 16 August 2012, Comrades.
We must not be fooled into thinking that it was a coincidence or a mere blunder by the State. It was intentional and it served a very specific purpose.
Any state, once its weaknesses have been exposed, is vulnerable to all sorts of social ills. We see these social ills today – never-ending conflicts at all tiers of our society, from service-delivery protests to violent clashes between the police and foreign nationals.
Just the other day we witnessed how, in Johannesburg, foreign nationals attacked police with all sorts of weapons. Armoured vehicles and policemen and policewomen were pelted with stones. Vehicles were damaged beyond repair and officers were seriously injured with stones and pangas.
What happened? Nothing.
The police retreated and only returned the next few days.
Today, 7 years ago at this kopje in Marikana, workers didn’t throw a single stone. Workers never attacked police. All they were doing was peaceful protest for better living and working conditions. But, still they were brutally massacred on live television.
Service-delivery protests have become the order of the day.
The so-called Total Shutdown Movement is active in all major cities, and in rural communities the decay is as clear as daylight. Anyone who cannot see that our State has failed the people of this country, must either be blind or choose to be blinded by personal interest.
Another social ill is that of unemployment – currently almost at 30%. That means that a full third of our people do not have jobs, and we all know that this definition of unemployment is too narrow. Many economists say that it is closer to 50%…
This is more proof of the failure of government to transform our economy to generate growth and create employment.
Through the failures of government, our economy cannot create enough jobs for our people. Humans are degraded to revert to other ways to make a living, like selling their bodies. Their human dignity is being destroyed.
We are on a dangerous trajectory…

Empty promises

As the Good Book says, a tree will be known by its fruit. It would be non-sensical to expect anything else than what we see today. You can never plant a tree of corruption and greed, and then expect fruits of democracy and prosperity to come forth.
The fact of the matter is that our government is gradually destroying communities by promising empty democracy and its delicious aroma, while only serving the stale and rotten fruits of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
We don’t have leadership in South Africa. No. We only have managers. They manage this country on behalf of its owners, those behind the curtain – big business. Capital holds the levers of this country, and they have co-opted politicians to manage it for their best interest. The needs of the people and democracy have become mere window dressing. It has become a façade for what is really happening.
The sad reality is that 1994 was not a deal to liberate us. It was a deal to continue with our slavery under the democratic order. It was a deal struck with a small elite of black managers, to ensure that the looting of our resources and the profits in London and New York can be protected at all cost.
CODESA promised us a constitution to bring restitution and democracy, but instead we were fed lies. We were left with a constitution that only serves to protect the property of Capital. Who benefits from this constitution? Surely not us as South Africans…
The small black elite in political power was extended through BEE to ensure that businesses are also run in line with the interests of Capital.
Young black men and women are trained to become house slaves of Capital to serve in the rooms of their masters. In exchange for their preferential treatment and their personal economic emancipation, they deny their fellow slaves a livelihood and a fair share of the spoils of exploitation. This became evident during the Five-Month Sibanye Gold Strike.
For 25 years, we were sitting next to the pool of healing. Nobody was taking us inside to be healed. Like we read in John 5, workers were told to pick up their mats and walk home.
We need to re-classify ourselves as Africans, not as Blacks, not as Coloureds, not as Indians, not as Whites. A true African cannot rape his sister. A true African does not sell drugs to his brother.
We need to empower ourselves. Why must we be empowered by foreign countries?
The greatness of a nation is not measured by its economy… The greatness of a nation is not measured by the best infrastructure… The greatness of a nation is measured by its obedience to God, by looking after the poor and the weak. Sadly, this is not the case.
We are all created in God’s likeness. We all have one Father. Therefore, we are all brothers and sisters.
Then, where does hatred comes from? How can you claim to love God whom you haven’t seen but you hate your brother whom you see every day?
Where does killing comes from? Let’s start all over again. Let’s us love ourselves … especially us men… A real man doesn’t rape. A real man doesn’t steal. A real man doesn’t kill. A real man doesn’t abuse his family. A real man will never disrespect a woman. A real man will never beat a woman.
We are what we are, through women… They carried us for 9 months with love and without failure. A woman suffers the pain of life and death for 9 months, not knowing that what she is carrying will be her hell…
How dare you touch a woman? The punishment must fit the crime. Bring back death penalty!
Government will never be in the position to curb this crime. Our Constitution it’s been captured by criminals.
Let us be born again in mind!

State capture

State capture is not new.
State capture is not something that started with former President Jacob Zuma. State capture is an institution in South Africa. State capture already started becoming clearly visible in the early 1900s when the Chamber of Mines ensured that the wages of black mineworkers on the Witwatersrand are kept as low as possible.
The system of migrant labour was designed to ensure a steady flow of cheap labour to the mines.
The State was co-opted by the Chamber of Mines to ensure that black men were forced to leave their homesteads to work on the mines.
• Head taxes meant that you had to pay to be a citizen of this country.
• The 1913 Land Expropriation Bill forced them from their subsistence farms.
• They could no longer sustain themselves from their own plots of land and live from their own livestock and produce.
• They had to pay money to the State.
• This meant that they had to earn money, and the biggest employer of the day was the mines on the Witwatersrand.
When they arrived on the mines, they were forced to buy their own mattresses to sleep on concrete beds.
The cost of their overalls, hard-hats, boots and lamps was deducted from their first slave wages, which meant that they had no money to send back home.
Their families were left in extreme poverty, and they were forced to start the never-ending battle for survival on slave wages.
These horrible conditions lead to several strikes in the early 1900s, and one of the biggest was the Rand Rebellion of 1922. During this strike, Capital again uses the State under General Jan Smuts to kill 153 mineworkers, injure 500, arrest 5 000 and dismiss thousands.
Under the National Party the plight of black mineworkers became even worse, and Capital continued to use the State to further its profit-driven interests.
After 1994, despite a range of new labour legislation, the core problem of economic inequality was not addressed.
Instead, the ANC chose to continue with the process of ensuring the prosperity of a few over the poverty of many.
From uTata Nelson Mandela to former President Thabo Mbeki this trend continued, and Zuma merely upset the Capitalists by choosing to give the prime control to the Gupta brothers.
White Monopoly Capital was truly upset, because their steady flow of money was interrupted.

A New Dawn?

And now? The New Dawn? Not at all.
Our sitting president has openly declared his preference for Capital and foreign investors. State capture is alive and kicking.
Instead of proper economic policies that can give us growth and prosperity, we have corruption and looting of resources.
Our economic policies are only about foreign direct investment, with almost no real focus on transforming our economy for the good of the nation.
We are not a poor country. We are just poorly managed.
We are blessed with many riches. We are blessed with a wealth of natural resources and minerals.
If only these minerals were properly managed, we could have used the wealth to address many of our socio-economic challenges.
It is high time that mining communities join hands with AMCU in pursuance of returning back what belongs to us – without any apology.
We have been very much apologetic for the past 25 years, without scratching the surface of the Capital’s conscience.
We don’t need foreign direct investment. We need investment in local capacity and local industries.
We don’t need a Fourth Industrial Revolution! We need an Economic Revolution!
• As AMCU we believe that there should be a quota system to regulate the exports of our minerals.
• At least 40% of our minerals must be locally utilised. It should be used to stimulate industrialisation and beneficiation.
• This government, if it is serious about economic growth, must make bar certain products from import and earmarked for localised manufacturing. Import tariffs must be imposed on identified products.
Nationalisation is not new. State-Owned Enterprises of the Apartheid government were forms of nationalisation. Eskom, Yskor, Denel, and the railways… The only difference was that it was designed to serve the needs of the white minority.
Nationalisation should serve a greater purpose.
What is owned by black indigenous leadership, becomes an easy target for the government to expropriate. But the vast resources owned by White Monopoly Capital will not be touched.

Changing the laws

We have made comprehensive proposals to amend the health and safety legislation and regulations, but our government has ignored us.
Labour Relations Act – we have campaigned against s189 – why does this government give Capital so much power to destroy families to ensure their profit.
This means that workers, if they are not killed, are exploited and retrenched.
Section 197 is truly a form of modern slavery.
It is a new slave trade, where the bosses sell us to one another.
A fresh example is how the bosses of Lonmin sold us to the boss of Sibanye.
If we had to choose, would we ever choose to work for Sibanye?
Do we want to work for a boss who insults us with R300?
It is below inflation! It is not even a loaf of bread per day!
Our children will be hungry.
Workers of Lonmin wanted to buy the mine, but the State gave it to Sibanye. Members of AMCU wanted to bring their money and buy.
This is spit on the grave of Cde Mambush and the others who died here. We died for R12 500. You give us R300.
The R300 is not about money. It is about provoking workers. It is about getting us to strike. It is about retrenching workers. The same as in the Gold Strike…
We are the rightful owners. The minerals belong to the people. How can you deny the people? The government is only the custodian!
It is quite clear that their interest is not in this country and its people. How can this government allow one person to loot the minerals that belong to the people. How can he be allowed to set his own exorbitant salary, and then turn around to exploit the workers?
How many mines have been shut down for the sake of profits?

Recently US President Donald Trump stopped a train, until such time as the workers are paid. How many trains have offloaded the loot of our minerals in Richards Bay and secured the profits of the fat cats?
To make our politicians accountable, we must change the electoral system of this country. AMCU has said it for a number of years. Leaders must be elected by the people. Not the political party. Yes, the party can nominate, but the people must elect people.

Municipal officials must be appointed where they come from. They must be accountable.
The current status of South Africa needs a new political system. This centralised system cannot work. There is too much distance between the State and the People. Maybe we need a federal state. Then you measure the economy of every state, and pay a certain tax to the federal body. This must not be construed as Bantustan or self-determination like Orania. AMCU has consistently pointed out that our education system serves only the needs of White Monopoly Capital. It fails to teach the black child to think independently. It fails to address the economic needs of our country.Under these circumstances, each and every province – in order to counter the current economic trend – there must be at least one mine or one major industry owned by the State, in order to assist the social development of the surrounding communities.

We need leaders who truly love the communities they serve. We don’t need popstars…
We need to be born again.

Workers are forced, killed just for being AMCU members. The reason is that they are being persecuted. Now they can see. They were blind, and now they can see. They were caught up in poverty, but now they can see…
Like we read in John 9:25, the blind man did not care about when the work was done. He only appreciated the fact that he could see again.

Conclusion

Comrades, I thank you for making the journey to attend the 7th commemoration of the massacre that happened at this very place.

I thank you for showing your respect to the 34 comrades who fell while peacefully demonstrating against the horrible working conditions all of us continue to face.

AMCU will continue to be the voice of workers as a genuine trade union with a genuine mission to achieve economic emancipation in our lifetime.
I thank you…

Joseph Mathunjwa
AMCU President

Sixth commemoration of the Marikana massacre

Sixth commemoration of the Marikana massacre

President Mathunjwa's Speeches

Sixth commemoration of the Marikana massacre

16 August 2018

The past commemorations
Comrades, today marks the 6th Commemoration of the Marikana Massacre, where workers, who were also fathers to children, husbands to wives, sons to parents, and brothers to siblings, were mowed down by bloodthirsty police special forces.

The special forces were deployed from all provinces, with a mission to kill. Mortuary vehicles and rounds of ammunition were already prepared. This was nothing but premeditated murder. The facts are still being revealed but, in the end, the truth shall prevail.

Through the years, as we reflect on our collective memory, the sacrifice of Lonmin workers is reminiscent of our fallen comrades in the struggle against economic oppression.

This unwavering spirit of defiance, even to death, is synonymous with the late 34 Comrades who perished at the hands of the toxic collusion between Monopoly Capital and the Fascist State, at this kopje exactly 6 years ago.

In many of my previous commemoration addresses, I have pointed out that the State was culpable in the murder of its citizens. This was done to appease particular foreign direct investors, by showing visible action taken to protect their investments.

When I first mentioned this, many observers thought that this was a wild attack on the constitutional democracy. However, recent developments have vindicated this assertion, as commanders of the massacre are now facing prosecution for murder.

As we look back on these commemorations, we remember the general difficulty to accept that, what happened on 16 August 2012, was indeed a ‘massacre.’
At first people were afraid to concede that this was a massacre because they did not want to take responsibility for their actions. In the mining industry there is a standard in the Mine Health and Safety Act that, whenever there is a mine accident that claims more than five lives, it is declared a disaster. This will automatically trigger State intervention and bring attention to the specificity of the issues leading to the disaster.

However, it was difficult to acknowledge the Marikana incident as a massacre, since the perpetrator was the State security institutions that were actually meant to protect its citizens.

Once conceded, this could actually constitute a crime against humanity and would require that those who issued the command be brought before the International Criminal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands.

No wonder our government recently wanted to pull out as a member of the International Criminal Court! The expropriation of land without compensation has been classified as crime against humanity by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May. It is ironic that this is seen as a crime against humanity, but not the massacre!

How can the UK dictate to us when something is a crime against humanity, and when lives of innocent workers are lost? How can they compare a legal avenue to address restitution to the killing of innocent workers, who were exercising their legal right to protest for better living conditions? However, the day of the commanders is coming…

The legacy of this massacre will never go away until justice is served. Right now, the focus is on the line commanders who are taking the fall for the Security Cluster, and ultimately the then commander-in-chief.

Our journey has been a lone trek, trailblazing new avenues in the South African labour market, contributing to numerous changes in law and policies.
We have always been alive to the fact that you can’t change anything by mere compliance. As leaders, we have always reminded that [open quote] “fundamental change requires fundamental sacrifice” [close quote].

Our members continue to make sacrifices in order to transform their working lives. This was epitomised by the 2014 five-month strike led by AMCU. When everyone thought it was going to implode, the workers were steadfast in their demands.

This was the first real test by AMCU to Capital post democracy to remind all of us that, although South Africa achieved political freedom in 1994, the struggle was not yet over in terms of economic emancipation.

AMCU carried the radical message of economic emancipation. We demanded direct ownership of strategic assets by workers. During the platinum wage negotiations, we were able to raise the issue of ESOPs and demanded that they be transformed to Profit Sharing Schemes where workers will be represented in the declaration of profits.

Comrades, it is high time that we as workers can graduate to proper shareholders of the mines. We must move away from being abused without any prospects of enjoying the fruits of our labour. If we can be shareholders, it can be our own people who decide what is best for the mines, and what is best for us. Our Land, Our Country, Our Economy!

It was AMCU that brought the issue of ownership of mines to the fore. Already in 2014, we made presentations before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources. We indicated how workers should become owners of the mines.

Our slogan has always been ‘mawubuye’ uMnotho weAfrika’ because we were clear that our economic emancipation has been postponed and subdued to meaningless political freedoms. What is freedom when we have nothing in the land of plenty?

This spirit has transcended to other social debates around the land issue, where South Africans have been clear that they want their land back. However, the land issue should not be used for political populist posturing, but rather to counter the real socio-economic realities faced by the majority of South Africans. Our land must create jobs and create better living conditions for all. Our land, our future, our economy!

Still, this approach by AMCU has made us extremely unpopular with the Capitalists who want to retain their economic superiority, and also by the State which seem to place financial gain before their socio-economic mandate. For them to achieve their agenda, they have sponsored programmes to destabilise AMCU.

This persistent attack did not end with the massacre of Marikana workers in August 2012, but continued with the frivolous arrest of AMCU members, the murder of branch leaders such as Comrades Steve Mawethu, Bongani Mehlonkomo, Bhele Mzendane, and Comrade Biyela, to mention a few. I have always mentioned that this is a clear sign of the collusion between State and Capital.

These programmes included the formation and resourcing of rival trade unions to destabilise AMCU such as WAU and LUSA. However, as time will always show, we are now learning from court papers and public media that this was always a programme to destroy AMCU.

The same intensity has started with media attacks in the Mail and Guardian and some radio stations which give airtime to former AMCU employees, dismissed for misconduct including corruption, to create a narrative of abuse and leadership crisis.

As members of AMCU, assembled today, we need not forget how many rivers we have crossed, how many mountains we have climbed to reach where we are today.

We haven’t achieved the full economic emancipation, but we are in a full view of what still needs to be achieved. AMCU has always had many detractors, but we will remain steadfast to our cause for the sake of our children.

The detractors can continue to write and speak negatively about AMCU, but one thing, for sure, AMCU was never built by the media, and neither was it ever sponsored by Capital or the State. The true revolution is never televised!

We are not part of any partnership with Capital or any alliance with the State. AMCU has one ally, namely its members, and one parliament, namely mass meetings. We depend on our members and the mandate that guides us.

There are internal processes to deal with disputes, and anyone who is not satisfied with any outcome has recourse in law. Lest we forget, ours has been a struggle against numerous forces. We have seen the collusion between Capital, the State and our fellow Comrades in the Trade Union Federations, who wanted to get AMCU deregistered.

You will remember, Comrades, the signing of the Peace Accord and the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Sector in Pretoria. You will recall how these documents were clearly aimed at sustaining the narrative that AMCU is a violent organisation which should therefore be deregistered.

We refused to sign those accords because we had no mandate from our members … no mandate from YOU! Still, we were attacked by different formations of unions and federations for standing by our philosophy of always working with a mandate from the workers.

However, later, when there was a fallout within WAU and testimonies of how millions in taxpayer’s money were used to create parallel unions bent on destabilising AMCU, the facts exposed by the court papers vindicated us. This agenda and these programmes became clear for all to see…

While the agenda has remained the same, the focus has now changed from the establishment of rival unions to a programme of destabilising the Organisation from within.

We have countered these programmes, and we will continue to do so. We are confident that YOU, the membership of AMCU, will have no doubts about the decisions taken to protect your organisation and your interest.

2017 was another year where these programmes were unleashed against the branch leadership of AMCU. The Mail & Guardian newspaper was quick to vilify the national leadership of AMCU without following the ethics of journalism. Rather, they resorted to gutter journalism! The television channel, eNCA was also quick to criss-cross the country to interview faceless people making baseless allegations.

AMCU hired private investigators and issued a reward for the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators who attacked and killed AMCU leaders. The police acted on the leads of the AMCU investigators to trace killers back to the Eastern Cape and bring them to justice. Although the court case itself continues to be postponed, we hope that justice will be served soon.

In 2012 we adopted a mandate from the Lonmin workers for a minimum wage of R12 500 in the mining sector. We carried this mandate to the platinum wage negotiations in 2014 and we managed to achieve a phased-in approach.

Today we are happy to report that the majority of workers in the platinum industry have achieved R12 500. This struggle has gone beyond AMCU and has been adopted by other progressive unions. However, we now hear of a national minimum wage of R3500 to be implemented. This figure is a slap in the face of workers and it is way below the AMCU threshold.

Still, through our struggle we have been able to highlight the massive difference between a minimum wage and a living wage. We will continue saying that what South Africa needs, is not a bare minimum wage, but a living wage so that workers can live in basic human dignity. Even the advocates of a minimum wage accept that as fact.

Furthermore, the quick implementation of a minimum wage is clearly a way of turning away the attention of workers from the R12500 demand. It is an attempt to assure that they will now have leverage to pay lower wages than those demanded by AMCU.
AMCU has been able to elevate the struggle against the low wage regime in the economy to new heights. We have sought to improve our members’ lives in platinum, in coal – most significantly at Sasol Mining, as well as in the Sugar Industry, to mention a few.

Marikana Massacre to mark South African Workers’ Day
The Marikana Massacre is regarded by many academics, commentators and analysts as a turning point in South African labour relations and the markets. Surely this elevates this incident to be of significant importance in the national calendar.

When we started with these commemorations, we were accused of being attention-seekers. We were labelled people who did not want to forget a tragedy. There were many accusations around AMCU wanting to “piggyback” on the Massacre for political gain.

However, we have maintained that it was not possible to ignore this genocide unattended, as our slogan clearly calls: “The quest for truth and justice shall set us free”. Over the years, we have seen a growing appreciation of this commemoration.

 

 

From the onset, AMCU has emphasised that the Marikana Massacre must be declared as South African Workers Day. If you look carefully at the public holidays which appear in our national calendar, you will notice that most of them are linked to the specific significant days in our history and our struggle for liberation and independence.

➢ Human Rights Day is linked to the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on 21 March 1960;
➢ Youth Day is based on the Soweto Uprising that happened on 16 June 1976; and
➢ Women’s Day commemorates the march by more 20 000 women to the Union Buildings against the dompas. In actual fact, the starting point of the struggle of Lonmin workers was on 9 August 2012.

Celebrating Workers Day or May Day on 1 May every year, is a commemoration of international workers’ struggles with no direct link to South African history.
I have said before that this day is celebrated on different dates in different countries. For instance, the USA celebrates their Labour Day on the first Monday every September as a general holiday for the working class in America.

That is why we say that there should be nothing stopping South Africa from changing the date to honour the workers struggles which epitomised the Lonmin Massacre.

We continue to make this call and we will do everything in our power to sustain a campaign for a South African Workers Day that is relevant and responsive to our working class struggle here in South Africa.
This year we decided to commence with a defiance not to celebrate workers day on 1 May, but on 16 August every year. Even though we were clear that we respect the international trade union movement and the symbolism of May Day, we started actively campaigning for 16 August to be declared South African Workers Day.

We call on fellow progressive unions to also join us on 16 August to celebrate our own South African Workers Day. We also call on the authorities to amend the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994). For once the argument of Capital and the State cannot be about lost production and less profits, as we would simply be exchanging the public holiday of 1 May with the new one on 16 August. To political parties that are campaigning for 2019, put the 16 August as Workers’ Day in your manifestos and we will consider voting for you.

Major milestones in the past year
Comrades, we have said that we have a long and eventful history. There are numerous milestones that we have marked in our journey to where we stand here, today.

In 2015 we had the Farlam Commission of Inquiry publishing its results. The report was expected to be a watershed moment that would hold all those culpable in the Marikana Massacre to account.

However, it was so underwhelming that it was quickly forgotten the moment after Judge Farlam put a full stop to the last page.

Throughout that process, we were consistent in calling it the “Commission of Omission” as it did not come up with concrete resolutions for holding people to account.

It found the Police Commissioner not fit for office. We expected a hard-hitting exposé about the trigger pullers and their commanders, but there was none. However, that has come to pass and there are new developments on this terrain.

We have also seen political actors wanting to come and meet with the widows of the massacre victims. Last year one of the presidential candidates was chased away from here, and our new State President was also warned not to use Marikana on his campaign trail.

Earlier this year, we heard a call by the State President in Parliament that he wants to apologise to the widows in Marikana. We released a media statement to indicate our willingness to cooperate with this process, but we warned that it should be done in the right manner.

However, to date nothing has materialised despite us writing a formal media statement as a response to the State of the Nation Address. There have been recent developments around the compensation for the victims of the Marikana Massacre. This is a welcome development although there was an arbitrary decision by the State to come up with a figure without consulting the parties.

We remain willing to work on the modalities of arriving at an acceptable compensation for all affected.

Health and Safety
Comrades, mineworkers are dying on a daily basis, and hence AMCU are continuously campaigning for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act.
➢ We are saying that the regulations and procedures to protect workers must be strengthened, so that mining bosses are forced to respect the lives of our comrades.
➢ We are saying that those mining bosses who carelessly kill our comrades while chasing hyper profits, must be prosecuted and held accountable.
➢ We are saying that the families of those killed and injured in mine accidents, must be paid maximum compensation. The education of their children must be fully paid, and they must receive their same salary until they reach pensionable age. Their dream of economic emancipation must not be destroyed by an accident!

We have seen the numerous disasters at operations of Sibanye-Stillwater this year alone, and this was followed by the tragic events at the Phalaborwa Mining Company where our comrades were burnt to death.

AMCU has appointed independent forensic investigators to look at the cause of the PMC fire, including Richard Spoor. At Lily Mine, three of our members are still underground. We hope and trust that we will get into the container, whereby our comrades can at last be reunited with their families so that they can have closure.

The road ahead
Comrades, there is a new war coming, which is facing the labour movement and seeks to transform the world of work as we know it today. It is an era that will change the way we do business, trade, buy and sell and even the way we work. There are jobs that will not be there in future and there are new jobs that will come which we do not have right now.

This is an era where machines seek to replace humans in the world of work. Capitalists prefer robots because they do not have wage demands and don’t need conditions of employment. This is in order to suffocate the human race for the sake hyper profits!
This has therefore made it easier for Capitalists to invest in mechanisation instead of investing in human resource development, complying with their Social Labour Plans and uplift the communities where they are mining.

As AMCU we say we will embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution on condition that workers will not be worse off. We say to you today, Comrades, let us go out there and ensure that these companies skill and re-skill us to face this head-on.

AMCU officials are hereby instructed that, as of today we will put the issue of human resource development at the centre of our programmes. There is no AMCU Comrade who will not be trained, as the future requires that we prepare for it today. The future is now. This will assist in ensuring a just transition so that workers are not the losers in this process.

Secondly, Comrades, we will push a policy to give social protection for all workers who have lost their jobs to machines. We will campaign for a policy that will compel all employers to share profits generated from machines with workers who lost their jobs to machines.

Comrades, the advent of atypical forms of work is upon us. Labour brokers are said to employ more than 4 million workers in the South African labour market.
In 2015 there were amendments to the LRA which introduced new protections to labour broker workers. The interpretations of these amendments have been further clarified in a recent Constitutional Court judgement.

In 2014, Dr Chinguno published a paper that analysed the volatility in the platinum belt as an intersection of flexibility and precariousness in Lonmin. There is evidence that over the years, companies have been outsourcing and subcontracting their functions to labour brokers in order to reduce their staff compliments and liability.

We need to start enforcing the LRA amendments and ensure that workers are fully protected. As AMCU we will ensure that subcontractors earn the same wages and enjoy the same benefits as the mines where they operate. 16

Let us also sign collective agreements that ban labour brokers in the companies where we are organised.
Last but not least, Comrades we are facing another attack from employers with heightened retrenchment notices that have been drummed up to regress the gains made by AMCU.

In 2012 workers demanded a R12 500 minimum wage, today Lonmin wants to retrench 12500 workers. We do not take this as a coincidence but well-calculated attack by the employer to hit back at AMCU.

We say to them: Bring it on! We are ready for you!
Impala has also indicated to us that they intend retrenching 13 000 workers in order to optimise their operations. We do not see these notices as responsible, considering that there are already close to 8 million people who cannot find jobs.

The industry has already lost 38 000 jobs since the beginning of the year. Any further job losses will put too much strain on the workers. We are therefore sensitising the employers to reconsider their positions, if they do not want to face a total shut down of the companies, including secondary strikes. There will not be a single ounce of platinum leaving the ground if they continue with their evil plans!

We need responsible and patriotic employers who are not bent on profiteering but are thinking of the nation as a whole.

Unemployment
We must agree that our unemployment rate is unacceptably high – especially here in the North West Province. It is said that there are more people here without jobs than those employed. That is shocking…

We must also admit that our unemployment is inherently self-inflicted by our government and its lacking policy interventions. We continue campaigning that:
➢ Government must address the issue of our borders being open to anybody to enter as they please. We must differentiate between asylum seekers who have a legitimate reason to flee their countries, and traders who come here for economic opportunities which could have been taken by our own people.
➢ Government must regulate SSMEs and give this sector much more attention. SMMEs are low-hanging fruit for our progress in the country, and research has proven that SMMEs can provide economic emancipation to many by creating job opportunities.
➢ Industrialisation is key to create employment. We will never create enough jobs if we don’t manufacture and add value to raw products. We must stop taking resources from the ground and shipping it off to other countries to make things and sell it back to us. Due to the shady trade deals struck under GEAR, we have let ourselves remain stuck in an economy which cannot add value. Research has shown that one mineworker in South Africa is creating three jobs in Europe. It is of paramount importance to build our economy, in order to address the issues of social justice. We must have an approach of South Africa first.

Closure
Comrades, I thank you for coming here today to commemorate the comrades who fell at this very place exactly six years ago. They died for standing up, not for illegal things, but for basic human dignity and economic emancipation. They died wanting a better life for their families. Let us never forget, Comrades, and let us continue with our struggle with new vigour!

Amaaandla!
Viva, AMCU! Viva!
Long live the spirit of the fallen comrades of Marikana, long live!
Alutaaa!

Gold sector wage negotiations

Gold sector wage negotiations

President Mathunjwa's Speeches

AMCU gives strike notice to Sibanye-Stillwater

18 November 2018

Members of the media, Colleagues, Comrades

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is actively participating in the gold wage negotiations which commenced on 11 July 2018.

This is against the backdrop of ever-increasing cost of living, especially for what we call the working poor. Transport costs skyrocket due to the exorbitant fuel costs, and this also affects the prices of basic foodstuffs.

As we have hit self-inflicted technical recession this month, it is again the poor workers who will eventually bear the brunt. We know that inflation is the main target of our Reserve Bank, and very soon we will see increases in interest rates to curb police spending.

Inflation-targeting favors the capitalist, in that it protects his historical gains, whereas it punishes the worker twice. Firstly, the worker suffers due to high cost of living and then he is hit with higher cost of borrowing money to survive.

When we commenced with the wage negotiations in gold this year, we followed the same approach we have always done. As always, our initial demands were founded upon the quest for a living wage. In this we remain true to our policy stance of believing in a wage-lade economy.

A wage-led economy sees economic growth created by the increased spending power of workers, while they are able to better their living conditions and future prospects.

Another key difference of AMCU’s approach is that of a rand value increase, rather than percentile increase that was the norm prior to 2012. We truly believe that a rand value increase is more progressive in that it seeks to address the wage gap between higher and lower earners.
Since our wage campaigns in the Platinum Belt we are encouraged to see how workers have really benefited and enabled to take greater care of their loved ones after the past two agreements we reached with their employers.

This serves as a living testimony that AMCU members in the Platinum Belt are in better conditions as compared to their colleagues in the gold sector. This credit is attributed to AMCU being resolute in its fights for a living wage and decent working conditions.

Practically, this means that the lowest paid employee working underground in the gold sector currently earns a basic salary of R6 900, whereas the same employee in platinum earns R11 000. That calculates to a difference of R4 100 or almost 40%.

Even more compelling is the comparison in the wage increases in the past six years from 2013:
• In 2013 employees in gold were earning a basic salary of R4 500, while workers in the platinum belt were getting almost the same at R5 000 per month.
• This clearly shows that gold is lagging behind in wages – especially for low-earning workers.
However, it is necessary to note that since 2012 AMCU has enjoyed the status of majority union in platinum, which meant that whatever AMCU agreed with employees, was extended to other employees.

On the other hand, power without ideology is useless.

AMCU has proven that it has ideology to use its power in responsible and progressive ways. It has become evident that our ideas and mandates continuously change the lives of workers. Our work has shown real socio-economic impact.

Conversely, in gold AMCU was traditionally a minority union meaning that it was bound to the substandard wage agreements to which other unions agreed to. That is also why employers in gold are still in the comfort zone of the huge disparities left by apartheid in salary structures and benefits. In gold specifically, most black workers earn far less than their white counterparts.

These mines continue to undermine the quest to address inequality in our country. We are on record to agree with our social partners that our chief enemies are poverty, unemployment and inequality.

We must take this head on as part of our broader agenda of social justice. The picture is changing though! Workers are realizing that AMCU is the only union that remains true to its mandate of a living wage.

Our agreements clearly improve the lives of workers and their families. These improvements are visible and they are real!

As we commenced with he gold wage negotiations with Anglo Gold Ashanti, Harmony gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Village Main Reef, we experienced some setbacks.

In gold, we are still faced by arrogant negotiators and their behavior often borders on stubbornness and downright hostility. This stubborn behavior must be interpreted as resistance to change and resistance to wage equality. This is to maintain the unfair disparities left in the wake of apartheid and capitalism.

This hostility hinders progress and it tends to make wage negotiations very difficult and time consuming

This approach of some negotiators has led to lacking progress with three of the employers. They are Harmony Gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Village Main Reef.

All three of these mining companies are offering three-year wage agreements. All three are offering increases of R625 for year one, R650 for year two and R675 for year three – to workers category 4-8. Living out allowance is set at R100 increase and only for year one.

For higher earners such as miners, artisans and officials, their offer is between 4% and 5% for year one, between 5% and the consumer price index (CPI) in year two and only CPI in year three.

The lack of movement has left us with no other choice than to declare a dead-lock and refer the matter for conciliation at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The conciliation will take place tomorrow (12 September 2018) and we hope that the negotiators will change their approach when we have third party involvement.

On the other hand, our engagement with Anglo Gold Ashanti has been more progressive. The reason is that they are making tangible offers which seeks to meet our demands.

Anglo Gold Ashanti is also offering a three-year agreement. Its last offer for category 4-8 workers stands at an increase of R800 during year one, R900 in year two and R1000 in the third year. Living out allowance increases on offer are R100 for each of the three years.

For miners, artisans and officials, the mine is offering 6% in year one, a slightly higher 6.05% in year two, and then 6% again in year three.
The position of AMCU has always been that R12 500 should be the minimum basic salary of workers, and their living out allowance should not be less than R4000 per month. We truly believe that this can be attained over the coming three years.

We want to urge the three employers with whom we are in deadlock to reconsider their positions. They must begin to take the wage negotiations seriously.

If the conciliation process fails, strike will as always be our last resort. However, we are prepared to engage in disciplined and focused industrial action to drive home our point, if there is a lack of understanding.

Notably, these mines have been killing workers on an almost daily basis because they save on investment in safety. They still enjoy hyper profits, and their bosses still get exorbitant bonuses on the back of the sweat of our member.

We assure our members that we shall stay true to their mandate. We shall use all our resources to ensure that we secure the best possible wage deal for them and their loved ones.

I thank you.

Mine health and safety summit

Mine health and safety summit

President Mathunjwa's Speeches

Mine health and safety summit

18 October 2018

INTRODUCTION
The mining industry has for many years been under the micro scope for human injustices caused by corporate exposure to hazardous environment.

Although there is a myopic argument pertaining to the freedom of choice to work in this sector, economic pressures detect little rationale choice due to limited occupational opportunities in the country.

For many years, mine work has reminisced slavery due to the Migrant Labour System which was subjected to various commissions leading to recommendation to transform mining housing to family units.

Mining infrastructure remains poor, representing fertile ground for communicable diseases in hostels, informal settlements and poor working conditions. It is important to review this situation with the understanding that it is the people’s lives that are at risk.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has over the years chanted slogans pertaining to ‘zero harm’ and sought to create a narrative that changes the perspective of viewing mine work not as a death sentence.

However, in reality a total of seven fatalities were recorded in 2017, which was a 10% increase from the ones recorded the previous year. Fall of ground continues to be the biggest contributor of fatalities accounting 37% of the total fatalities in 2017.

This has continued in the Gold sector in 2018 with numerous disasters that have rattled the industry as a result of seismic activities leading to rock fall.

Besides mine fatalities the injuries remain high at 2245 in 2017, averaging six injuries per day in the industry.

Through the DMR analysis there is evidence that poor supervision contributed 10% towards these injuries. This is a serious issue considering the dire consequences attendant for workers in these circumstances.

What is disappointing further, is that the DMR does not provide an analysis of contributing factors to fatalities in a similar fashion to injuries. It would be interesting to note the extent to which management negligence contributes to mine fatalities as a hypothesis to be tested in statistical analysis.

INSTITUTIONAL FRAIL TIES
The primary focus for any business is to make profit. This can happen under numerous circumstances, some of which may have grave consequences for workers.

The mining industry has high incidence of fatalities, injuries and diseases which makes it a hugely dangerous environment to work it. This is fuelled by poor salaries in the sector which makes it easier for employers to replace these workers with abundant cheap labour.

As such, mining companies are reluctant to invest in technology that will detect hazards and eliminate them because it is said this technology is too expensive.
Since it is cheaper to replace a worker, the companies would rather recycle this commodity than spend money in life saving equipment.

 

We are told that there is mining technology that can detect seismic activity before it actually happens, similar to one used to monitor earthquakes which could help with the evacuation of workers underground to avoid rock falls. However, this technology is said to be very expensive and most companies would rather work without one. This is serious negligence with no consequences.

COMPENSATION OR CIVIL LIABILITY
There is a move in the DMR to combine the COIDA and ODIMWA with a view of streamlining health and safety legislation. However, AMCU has always been opposed to this process as mining health and safety requires a specific set of regulations which will be linked to the licensing of the company considering the level of incidence in this industry.

Capitalists have been championing the re-regulation of this sector due to the existence of civil liabilities in the ODIMWA for negligence of corporates as witnessed in the Gold silicosis law suit. However, COIDA focuses on compensation and does not prescribe individual liability to the business and its functionaries as it clearly states that OHS Committee members cannot be held individually liable for any health and safety matter.

AMCU remains opposed to this process as we wish to strengthen and not weaken legislation. Our view is to insert criminal prosecution procedures for people who are responsible for fatalities in the workplace.

In the Gold sector, at Sibanye-Stillwater, a supervisor forced workers to go underground even when they had told him of the unsafe conditions due to previous tremor. However, the overzealous supervisor forced the workers to go underground and five of them lost their lives. In such situations, there needs to be consequence to management to ensure that this individual and the employer are jointly and severally liable for the death of these workers.

CONCLUSION
The health and safety situation in South Africa requires a bold State that will hold business accountable for their operations.
Campaigns without radical policies and legislations will not curtail the growing negligence that is abundant in the industry. Sterner legislation, which will consider criminal prosecution for homicidal management behaviour needs to be considered.

There is a need to also reconfigure our economy and prioritise investment in prevention than cure.
Preventative measures need to include investment in technology for health and safety prevention. Companies need to dedicate a percentage of their turnover for re-investment in Health and Safety interventions.

Impala job cuts

Impala job cuts

President Mathunjwa's Speeches

AImpala job cuts

18 November 2018

Members of the Media, Colleagues, Comrades,

Introduction
We are here today taking cognisance that we are eleven days away from the day that changed the labour relations landscape of South Africa. The state, colluding with capital massacred 34 mineworkers fighting for Economic Emancipation.

It is evident that it was not a mistake to commit such genocide against its own people. This is emphasised by the continuous abuse of the LRA to massacre the livelihoods of breadwinners by means of retrenchment.

We are shocked by the insensitivity of capital for prioritising profit at the expense of the nation, as is evident in the latest announced job blood bath at Impala Platinum in Rustenburg.
The sad reality is that, if workers are not killed in mining accidents, they are still confronted by the wrath of greedy mining bosses who will do everything in their power to retain their huge salaries and bonuses.

Retrenchments
But, this is not new… In the past two years alone, mining houses have announced a massive 25 707 jobs to be destroyed. Through tough negotiations and many long sessions, we have been able to limit forced retrenchments to 4 892.

In 2013, Anglo Platinum announced 14 000 job cuts under former Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu. AMCU had to strike for a month to reduce that number to 3000, which ended up being voluntary retrenchment and early retirement. Many of them were recalled later.
Employers own the means of production and employees can only offer their labour in return for wages. Our work is regarded as a mere cost and history bears witness of many cases of exploitation in this regard.

That is why we have labour laws! Labour laws are meant to address the power imbalance between bosses and workers. These laws basically increase and enhance the role of the state. The state must regulate industry and it must regulate the relationship between employer and employee.
Retrenchments are regulated by means of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. According to section 189, employers have the obligation to consult with employees and trade unions before cutting jobs. The main goals of this consultative process are to look at ways to avoid the retrenchments and lessen the impact on employees.

AMCU is on record to bring many innovative avoidance measures to the table, and some of these include internal transfers of employees, a moratorium on contractors performing core mining work as well as Voluntary Separation Packages (VSPs).

A VSP is, as the name suggests, a process whereby employees can volunteer to be retrenched and pursue other avenues. Even though this is possibly the least preferred way of avoiding forced retrenchments, it does often take the sting out of a no-fault dismissal like retrenchment.
Still, Comrades and Colleagues, we must not fool ourselves. Losing your job is a harrowing experience – especially in South Africa today with its unemployment rate rising to 27,2% in the second quarter of this year. As we all know, this is also by the narrow definition of unemployment and real unemployment stands much higher. Recent statistics in this regard stand at 37%.

Impact of Retrenchments
A second but equally important consideration is the knock-on effects of these job cuts. Popular research has shown that one salary in the mining sector, actually represents between five and ten livelihoods of spouses and family members dependent on said salary. This could mean up to 130 000 people directly affected by the looming retrenchments, and probably millions more being affected indirectly.

According to the most recent Census of Mining Report in 2015 the size of the mining workforce was estimated at 490 146 individuals. 41% of these individuals were employed in the Platinum Group Metals. Over the period, platinum group metal ore lost a total of 7 800 jobs, meaning that the recent Lonmin and now the Impala retrenchments are actually the most significant in history.

AMCU’s Section 77 Socio-Economic March
AMCU still criticises government for not taking a lead during these times. During AMCU’s section 77 Socio-Economic March held in four cities on 20 March 2018, our demands included:
1. Stricter enforcement of the Social Labour Plans, especially regarding Human Resource Development and Managing of Downscaling and Retrenchment.
2. The establishment of clearer guidelines regarding the implementation of the MPRDA, with regards to Future Forums;
3. Setting stricter requirements regarding the notice to DMR in terms of section 52. We called for a 90-day period to pass between section 52 being issued before section 189 consultations can commence.
4. Fast-tracking research and development studies into mineral beneficiation and manufacturing, so that we can create new jobs.
5. All mines in care and maintenance must be nationalised, in order to create sustainable jobs.
Government has yet to fully respond to our demands of 20 March 2018. We met with Minister Gwede Mantashe a month ago and he promised to send us the formal response, but nothing has been received yet

Trade and Industrial Policy
We call on the State to review all our trade and industrial policies. The focus should be to develop our own industry and protect our own economy. This will save jobs and create new jobs.
We have seen the America First approach by President Trump which has continued to create jobs for the American economy with 140 000 recorded in the last quarter. South Africans require leadership, and it is in these difficult times that great men and great women take their place in history. Let our legacy be that of saving and changing people’s lives.
SSME’s in our country must be owned and run by South Africans. SSME’s must be regulated for our benefit, so that we can ensure greater economic emancipation of South Africans.

Beneficiation
There is general consensus in the mining sector that one (1) mining job in South Africa supports three (3) in Europe. This is a result of greater innovation and advanced technology that beneficiates our mineral commodities. The skills developed in European Universities are focused on how to beneficiate South African minerals. However, the skills we develop in our country are only limited to extracting activities with no downstream capacity to value add our own commodities. Structurally, there are numerous limitations that have sustained the drive towards this calamitous destination where workers are now carrying the responsibilities for poor policy and regulatory choices.

Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. It will transform the way we do business and the way we trade, including the nature of work as we know it today.

The mining industry has been seized with optimisation and mechanisation discourse for a while now. It is becoming clear, through heightened retrenchment efforts, that the sector is bent on changing mining systems to use lean workforce towards hyper profits.

With continuous improvement in technology, there will be new machines which will required skilled workers. Therefore, the threat to labour-intensive work is upon us.

We are putting a proposition as AMCU for an unemployment insurance benefit that will guarantee minimum compensation to all workers that lose their jobs to machines derived from the profits produced by those machines as a social protection and social security measure.

AMCU’s Role in Economic Emancipation
AMCU cannot be blamed for job losses. We live in the most unequal society. AMCU should be congratulated for attempting to closing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
After the dawn of democracy in 1994, the main changes in the lives of mineworkers have been brought about by AMCU, and through the five-month strike our struggle managed to ensure that the lowest-earning mineworker is now at least standing at R11500 per month.

This is radical economic transformation – tenders are not! Radical economic transformation is to give people the means to feed themselves. Government is feeding 17 million people with grants – including the youth which should be at school to build our economy.

What Government Must Do
Government must create demands for its own minerals. The Highveld Steel manufacturing plant, close to Kusile Power Station, was closed down in 2016. One wonders why government never nationalised this resource, in order to create jobs and sustain communities. One wonders how many tonnes of steel was used in the construction of Kusile and Medupi. Ironically all this steel was imported from China. How short-sighted can one be?

One has no doubt that our state is a capitalist state, in that the state has no control over its economy. This has been proved by 1) proposed amendments to the LRA to make it easier for capital to abuse the working class, 2) the lack of emphasis in the Mine Health and Safety Act in protecting the workers and making the mining bosses accountable for the deaths of workers, 3) the continuous enrichment of a small political elite at the expense of the broader community.

Looking Forward
AMCU will participate in the retrenchment consultations at Impala, and we will do our best to save as many jobs as possible. We will spare no resource in our struggle to protect the livelihoods of mineworkers.

We hope that the company will come to this consultation process with a view of following the legal test of joint consensus seeking process and not being positional in engaging this matter. All the parties have rights in law and recourse should they have objections to procedural or substantive fairness of the process. We will closely monitor this and retain our rights to do everything possible to exercise the mandate of our members including industrial action where necessary.
Otherwise, we will see all of you, members of the media, at our annual Marikana Massacre Commemoration next week.
I thank you.

President Joseph Mathunjwa

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